The lights are on
EMERGING FROM THE SHADOWS
While Ubisoft Montreal worked diligently on these shooters, a small in-house research team was developing a wildly different take on the Tom Clancy universe.
Serge Hascoet: The game started in Paris – it was an RTS, and finally we decided together it was not good. Two of the developers went to New York when we started a studio there, and the game went another direction – an action adventure game on a floating island. It was in development for one or two years and nothing was great except some graphics and animation. At the same time New York was too expensive so we asked people to go to Montreal – this was at the same time we bought Red Storm. We had a meeting with Yves and said, “Okay, this game has some issues, what should we do?" We asked the team to work on a spy game for consoles. Some great guys joined the team like Antoine Dodens, who was a programmer, and he strongly believed that it was possible to do the light and shadow system. Everyone else was against it in the company, but he was right.
Yves Guillemot: We were unsure about the potential of that product and we said, "If we used the Clancy brand on this idea, it could really help it to perform." We said, "Okay, the only way to beat Metal Gear is to go on the console where it's not, with something a lot better graphically because it’s not available on PlayStation." So we said, “Let’s give ourselves some competitive advantages so that we have a chance to do something that will be better than the best of the best.” That is how we decided to ship on the Xbox alone. We knew that some aspects would be not as good as [Metal Gear], but using the technology of that machine we would be superior in terms of graphical quality. So that is why we said, “We know we won’t sell that many because the machine is new and it’s not selling huge quantities yet, but it is a way for us to create a brand on a machine that has low competition.”
Then we went to Microsoft and we said, “Look at what we’re doing for you.” We did a survey where we asked consumers, “Would you buy a machine to get this game?” and, “What would you think if you had a Metal Gear-type game on the Xbox?” It showed that game would sell machines like hotcakes. Microsoft has a good marketing team, and they realized quickly that this game could help the console. Then they helped us optimize it on the machine.
Cecile Cornet: I was doing communications at the time, and a few months before Splinter Cell came out Yves told me, “Prepare yourself, because it’s going to be big for us.” And it was. I was surprised how Yves had anticipated the success.
Splinter Cell was an instant hit, winning a Game Developers Choice Award for excellence in writing and Interactive Achievement Awards for best console game and outstanding achievement in gameplay engineering. Sequels Pandora Tomorrow, Chaos Theory, Double Agent, and Conviction were critically acclaimed as well. To date the franchise has sold over 20 million units.
Email the author Matt Bertz, or follow on Twitter, Google+, Facebook, and Game Informer.
Wow, Ubisoft Has a lonnnnngggggggg History! But their games like Assassins Creed, Prince of Persia, and Tom Clancy certainly show for it!
uff finally long read, Ubisfost definitely has been doing a really good job in the past years, their dedication is finally paying off.
Wait, but they didn't list the part about how their company turned into huge jerks towards the PC community, must be a natural thing to Ubisoft then.
Not going to bother reading something about a company that treats the PC community like trash.
I would gladly pay for your games, but if you keep lumping consumers with pirates and treat all of the PC gamers who want your games like *** why should I support you Ubisoft? At this point yall are throwing what few fans you have in the PC market into the garbage disposal.
Bethesda recently proved if you treat PC gamers decently and make a great game and leave out your freaking annoying DRM and just use Steam-Works instead(some people even complained about that, but as far as I'm concerned Steam is a great form of non-intrusive DRM) that hundreds of thousands of PC gamers will buy your product.
So screw you Ubisoft, I dislike you so much I will not pay for your games. I won't even go figure out how to pirate them to spite you. You as a developer are not worth my time.
(but worth my time to complain about)
There's a nice Machinima show on yt called "All your history" detailing history of specific game developers. Who still reads, right? :P
Wow that sounds pretty cool working there! :)
Long live the brilliance of Ubisoft and its incredible games.
I remember seeing this in the magazine. ^_^
This is actually a really interesting interview. Really learned a lot about his studio. I actually like the first Assassins Creed the best. Yes the missions were repetitive, but innovation was incredible. I think it had the best plot structure, here's who you have to kill, go do it. You knew your goal from the beginning, knew your enemies, and it felt much more satisfying to pick off that target. Personally i like the setting of Syria/Israel better than Italy, but that is preference.
Amazing article. I hope to see more of these for other companies as well.
I have to say, after AC2, I started not liking some of Ubisoft's decisions about their games and the way they operate. This article has given me a good insight as to what has caused some of those changes.
is that uncensored, or should you have said unfiltered?
I've been a huge fan of Ubisoft since the days of Rayman, not realizing that that was pretty much their beginnings as a developer, and I've only grown to love them more and more. While they have certainly fallen into some of the same traps as the other huge publishers by releasing a decent amount of shoddy games, they tend to more than make up for it with the strength of their top brands and titles. Prince of Persia, Splinter Cell, Assassin's Creed, Rayman, and Beyond Good and Evil are some of my favorite games and brands and I can't wait to see what they do in the future. I actually looked into relocating to Montreal, Canada to work for them, that's how much I love them and their development culture.
i've played all of the prince of persia and assassin's creed titles...love ubisoft games...